garmin vivoactive comparisons

Which Garmin Vivoactive Smartwatch Should You Buy?

Looking for a new Garmin Vivoactive smartwatch but not sure which version is right for you? In this guide I'll aim to put this right by explaining the key differences and what you can expect from each model. Garmin now has 3 Vivoactive versions available, each varies in shape, design and functionality. It's important to remember that Garmin places much more emphasis on sports tracking over smartwatch features and can't be compared with other smartwatch brands with added fitness features for this reason.

garmin vivoactive comparison
garmin vivoactive hr comparison
garmin vivoactive 3

Garmin Vivoactive (2015)

Garmin Vivoactive HR (2016)

Garmin Vivoactive 3 (2017)

Independent rating

Independent rating

Independent rating

Best features:

multisports apps, activity tracking

Best features:

wrist heart rate, connect IQ

Best features:

wrist heart rate, design, apps, 

Price: See Here

Price: See Here

Price: See Here

Garmin Vivoactive 3 (2017)

garmin vivoactive 3 gps smartwatch

Garmin Vivoactive 3 takes its looks from the new Fenix 5 and Forerunner 935 watches but with less features. This is a premium activity tracking watch, designed for casual exercise and daily fitness monitoring. This is a far better version than it's predecessor and has a stainless steel watch bezel and a comfortable quick release silicone strap. The wrist heart rate monitor has been improved and now sites flush to the back of the watch so you won't get the indentation left by the bump of the sensor.

Best Features

Vivoactive 3 comes with all the standard activity tracking features including step counter, move bar, auto goal, calories burned, floors climbed, distance traveled, intensity minutes and more. It can be used for over 15 different activities such as running, cycling and swimming and also adds a few more new ones such as yoga, snowboarding/skiing and rowing so all of your fitness classes will be covered. 

Battery Life

Battery life is impressive with up to 13 hours in GPS mode (timed activity mode) and up to 7 days in general smartwatch mode.

Value

Vivoactive 3 is the latest smartwatch to hit the market so expect to pay a premium for it. That said, it is still cheaper than other premium smartwatches and has a great deal more activity tracking features.

Click here to see the latest prices on Amazon

PROS

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    Premium watch design
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    New Garmin contactless payment
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    15 preloaded sports apps
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    VO2 Max and fitness estimates
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    Decent battery life
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    Connected features
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    Water resistant to 50 meters

CONS

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    No music storage
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    Display could be brighter
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    Less features in comparison to Fenix

Garmin Vivoactive HR (2016)

garmin vivoactive hr side profile

Vivoactive HR includes a wrist-based heart rate monitor and the daily activity tracking features you wold expect to find to keep you motivated throughout the day. You can also broadcast heart rate from your wrist to other compatible Garmin devices such as an Edge GPS bike computer.

Best Features

Built-in sports apps include running, biking, swimming, skiing, paddle boarding and more – no phone connection required. Intensity minutes monitors your progress against aerobic activity goals suggested by World Health Organisation. Tracks floors climbed thanks to an integrated barometric altimeter. Built-in activity tracker counts steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and heart rate throughout the day. Garmin Move IQ motion detector automatically records your daily activities such as walking, running, biking, swimming and elliptical training for later review on Garmin Connect. Displays smart notifications, such as emails, texts and calendar updates, as well as weather information.

Battery Life

Vivoactive HR will give you up to 8 days in smartwatch mode (with 24/7 heart rate monitoring) and 13 hrs in GPS mode (timed activity).

Value

Vivoactive HR was released in 2016 so now offers great value for money for an excellent all round activity tracker.

Click here to see the latest prices on Amazon

PROS

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    Wrist-based heart rate
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    Smartwatch with hi-res color touchscreen
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    Several built-in sports tracking apps
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    Tracks workout intensity
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    Daily activity tracking features
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    Pair with smartphone for notifications
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    Water resistant to 50 meters

CONS

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    Garmin Connect app can be confusing
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    Competing with established brands
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    Can't store music on device
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    Wrist heart rate not 100% accurate

Garmin Vivoactive (2015)

garmin vivoactive white and black comparison

The original Garmin Vivoactive is an ultra lightweight smartwatch available in white or black. It also comes with some of the basic functionality found in newer versions but lacks wrist heart rate monitor (can be paired with a chest strap). 

Best Features

Ultra-thin GPS smartwatch with a sunlight-readable, high-resolution colour touchscreen. Built-in sports apps, including GPS-enabled running, biking and golfing plus swimming and activity tracking, let you view your stats even when away from your phone. Pairs with your smartphone to gently vibrate and display alerts for incoming calls, texts, emails and calendar items plus notifications from social media and other mobile apps. Customise with free watch face designs, widgets and apps from Connect IQ store.

Battery Life

The rechargeable battery lasts through all your activities with up to 3 weeks in watch/activity-tracking mode or up to 10 hours using GPS.

Value

Available to buy for half the price of the Vivoactive 3 and offers some of the same activity tracking features.

Click here to see the latest prices on Amazon

PROS

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    GPS for running, swimming and cycling
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    Built-in accelerometer for indoor running
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    Cycling app measures time, distance and speed
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    Measures dogleg distances on the golf green
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    Swim app also measures distance in the pool
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    Smartphone notifications
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    Water resistant to 50 meters

CONS

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    Lacks wrist heart rate
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    Plastic design
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    Square display